Scotland Yard has unveiled a new terror-response squad. Issue about it is the knife attack occurred just hours after the yard did so.
The mass stabbing in Russell Square came just hours after the Met Police unveiled its brand new anti-terror unit.
Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe unveiled the plan to put more highly visible patrols, armed to the teeth with pistols and semi-automatic SIG Carbine rifles, at major landmarks as a deterrent to potential attackers.
As well as guns, the new generation of armed officers also have BMW F800GS motorbikes to allow them to scramble to an incident anywhere in the capital and speed boats so they can deploy from the Thames.
The new officers are masked in order to protect their identity from attackers, which can help in a variety of different circumstances – from hostage situations, targeted attacks to kidnap attempts. The masks provide an extra layer of safety for counter-terrorism officers as they carry out their various specialist tasks.
But yesterday’s announcement – dubbed Operation Hercules by the Met – came against a backdrop of warnings from the Police Federation that it will take two years to deliver a promised increase of 1,500 in the trained-strength of armed officers across the country.
And, embarrassingly, just hours after a showboating attempt on the Thames to unveil the counter-terrorism unit – police found themselves scrambled to the possible ‘terror related’ mass stabbing in Russell Square.
More British police officers are carrying guns after a spate of attacks on the continent, including the Bastille Day massacre in Nice and the murder of a priest in a Normandy Church last week. The expanded firearms units were promised after the Paris attacks last November.
Police added that the man was arrested at the scene six minutes after the incident.
The spokesman added: ‘A man was arrested at 10.39pm and a Taser was discharged by one of the arresting officers.
‘Terrorism is one possibility being explored at this stage.’
Additional police units have been deployed to the area to provide reassurance. Extra patrols will also be carried out in the area near the British Museum in Bloomsbury.